With spring’s arrival comes the anticipation of warmer weather and increasingly longer daylight hours – both factors contributing to this being a peak season for solar production. For the owner-occupiers and renters of the 40 participating properties that had solar PV systems installed through the City of Adelaide’s Solar Savers Adelaide program over the last year, the warmer days can be enjoyed even more knowing solar is taking some of the sting out of their energy bills.
Solar Savers Adelaide was initiated as a way to overcome some of the barriers to accessing the financial and environmental benefits of solar. Under the program, Council funded the purchase and installation of the solar PV system, with the participating property owner paying it off through a Solar Savers Adelaide fixed separate rate – charged on a quarterly basis together with their general rates.
Out of 279 households to originally register their interest in the program in 2016, 40 met the eligibility criteria and signed agreements to take part. South Australian family-owned company Cool or Cosy was chosen to supply and install the solar PV systems using locally manufactured Tindo high performance solar panels. The installation was completed earlier this year, increasing the city’s solar capacity by approximately 87kW.
City resident Blair rents one of the eligible properties and was supportive of the program from the outset.
“Despite paying the electricity bills for energy usage, tenants don’t typically have the option of installing solar,” said Blair. “Our landlords saw Solar Savers as an investment in our property. The installation on our heritage-listed property isn’t visible from the street, so the character of our area is preserved.”
Along with ‘Living with Solar’ education classes run by Council to help people understand how to get the most from their new system, Cool or Cosy supplied the participating properties with a useful energy monitoring device.
“The Solar Analytics tool gives excellent insight to live electricity usage, solar generation, and grid demand,” said Blair. “This will make us think more about when we use higher electricity demand appliances.”
Keith and Sue are landlords of one of the eligible properties. They’re happy that their tenants will save money on energy bills, and that they’re able to pay back the system over several years at a competitive rate.
“The program is a win for the environment, a win for the manufacturers and installers of the system components, a win for tenants in the private rental market, adds value to property and reduces demand on the electricity grid,” said the couple.
Cool or Cosy was able to employ some extra staff through the installation phase, knowing they had ongoing work over this period.
“It’s terrific that Council recognises the high quality of locally manufactured Tindo solar panels that not only provided manufacturing jobs in the installation phase, but now guaranteed long term performance and durability to their residents,” said Glenn Morelli, CEO of Cool or Cosy and Tindo Solar.
While the Solar Savers Adelaide program has now been successfully rolled out, you can still read more about it at cityofadelaide.com.au/solarsavers
There are also other avenues available for city residents to apply for financial assistance to invest in technologies that reduce their energy consumption.
‘Go solar’ in the city
Through the Sustainability Incentives Scheme, the City of Adelaide, with support from the State Government of South Australia, provides financial rebates to city residents and businesses for products like solar PV systems, energy (battery) storage systems, LED lighting upgrades, energy monitoring systems, rainwater tanks and electric vehicle charging points.
Since the scheme started in 2015, uptake has grown in line with an increasing desire by residents to take back control of their energy costs and to cut energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and water use. For every $1 that has been spent on rebates, $7.67 has been invested by the community on energy and water saving technologies. In 2017/18, applications to the scheme more than doubled from the previous financial year. 212 applications were approved in total, 93 of them for solar PV systems.
To see the range of incentives available through the City of Adelaide’s Sustainability Incentives Scheme – and to apply online, visit cityofadelaide.com.au/take-action